Watch Artist Shepard Fairey Pretend to Work in an Art Supply Store

Attention sulky art school students! Next time you’re stocking up on pre-smashed TVs, baby doll parts, riot cop stencils and mannequins, be sure to say hello to Shepard Fairey.

The artist is currently sporting a provocative T-shirt of his own design and posing as an employee of Shocking Art Supply and Craft.

D’oh! We’ve been punked again!

Fairey’s real, but the store, a brightly lit emporium catering to those seeking to make subversive statements with their art, is the invention of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s Portlandia. (The full episode aired last week on IFC.)

Armisen and Brownstein ham things up in ill-fitting wigs as Gigi and Phil, characters previously known for running a company that provided bad art for coffee shop walls.

Meanwhile, Fairey wins laughs by leaving the comedy to the comedians. Though I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Shocking Art Supply employee Shepard F is an admirer of Henry Rollins. You can read all sorts of things into a performance that deadpan.

The segment was filmed in a Portland store where Fairey remembered purchasing art supplies a few years back. As he notes on his website:

I’m no actor, but this part, along with maybe “jaded art student” or “jaded skate shop employee,” are the closest I’ll ever get to method acting.


Ayun Halliday is an author whose last sting in Portland involved making final edits to the Zinester’s Guide to NYC in a broken down vintage camper infested with flying ants. Follow her @AyunHalliday


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